VideoChannel Interview Project
Wilfried Agricola de Cologne
director & chief curator
© lisi prada, 2016
VIP INTERVIEW INVITATION by Wilfried Agricola de Cologne, director & chief curator
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
My interest for the alphabet and literature made me learn to read by myself before going to school and my inclination for the arts since childhood led me to the practice of various disciplines as an autodidact from very early ages. I got a university degree in Psychology; I studied music [music theory, piano, harmony, choral ensemble...] and different subjects but in the area of video -although I have done some courses- my training is not academic; instead, I spend all the hours I can learning to look, studying and creating. I think there is much to learn from the classical masters and the avant-garde and I try to keep up with what happens both in the temples of Art and Culture as well as in alternative art galleries.
2. When, how and why did you start filming?
I started shooting small documentaries with a borrowed camera in the 90's. Movement meant a step forward regarding photography that just retains an instant in time. Then, when I was compiling the work of Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio, the Trueba brothers provided me with some film material from 'Mientras el cuerpo aguante' and more than an hour of unused footage from 'Soldados de Salamina': It’s them I have to thank for motivation that emerged during the edition of the pieces of a still unreleased DVD [just the book “De Chicho” has been published by Hiperion, 2008], that drives me to dive into this exciting world in which I found my best way of expression.
My first moving images showed to an audience were multimedia works edited with macromedia flash [2004-2008]. In 2009 I presented publicly a video and got a Special Mention at the Spanish Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences. This incentive encouraged me to show my work, first in my country, fortunately with good acceptance since in five years [2012-2016] some of my video creations have travelled to more than thirty countries.
3. What kinds of topics have your films?
I like to experiment with different genres, from abstraction to video essay. I defend heterodoxy and hybridization, so I can mix animation with visual music, appropriation or poetry in a single work. I generally use layers of meaning that leave place for different understanding, some oriented to conceptual, others open to sensory experience and aesthetic enjoyment [not to ‘aestheticism’ because it is a quest for beauty not for 'niceness'].
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
Sometimes I suggest logical games, e.g. the use of unmodified images or taken from the same place at different times or playing with the duration of the film: many of my pieces last 3 min., 14 sec., 16 msec. The π number is my acronym: Producciones Inmateriales [Inmaterial Productions] is the name of my creations and my website for which I, certainly, don’t use templates since I write directly on html [on the one hand to exercise my mind and secondly because this way I can adapt the parameters to what I want, and not vice versa]
I don’t exclude the use of errors or defects in takes [sometimes they look like animations rather than recordings]; I also play with unusual movements of the camera ... contrasts between nature and culture, reflections in water, glass and reflective surfaces; reflections about moving images as a genre or about issues of our time; studies about light and shadows, studies about colour palette confronted with black and white...
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
I edit from a laptop with Adobe Premiere CS5 and sometimes I use After Effects. Now I have the intention of trying the Final Cut because I noticed that Mac may provide more data flow.
I use a small pocket camera which shoots in full HD. This allows me to archive everyday events ['Everything takes place through gift and capture', says Deleuze] and then I edit them and try to transmit content to a viewer from whom I expect one active look and listening, either from reason or right from the emotional-sensory. From a concept closer to Art Povera, rather than to the technical quality of the machine, I try to catch the expressions at a glance in an personal ethic way of seeing, thinking and feeling, trying to reflect the world and pondering about it and about our time.
6. These days digital technology is dominating also video as a medium. In which way the digital aspect is entering the creation of your videos, technologically and/or conceptually?
Before, a large team of people and resources was needed to produce a few minutes lasting short. Now, digital technology enables a single person to perform the entire project without a large outlay. This is also interesting from the Total Art and multidisciplinarity perspective: a challenge for polyvalence and selftesting versatility.
I enjoy all phases of my work, I love to shoot images and digital technology provides flexibility which was unthinkable previously. I also love to edit. I like fitting parts from an idea, a rhythm or poetry that unites them transversely.
7. How do you finance your films?
Not with money but with time and effort. I have a privileged job and I love it but it takes me too much time, so I must steal time from sleep to fulfil my dreams. My equipment is not expensive and this is by personal choice and responds to an ethical position. I think we live in a time of technological excess and in this sense it is necessary to show that imagination and reason can free ourselves from what the market wants to impose us. This excludes me from some circuits but I do not care.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
I'm working individually; when you have little time it is difficult to do otherwise. I count on the collaboration of excellent creators of contemporary music [Eduardo Perez Maseda] and electronic music [Hatori Yumi] and interpreters [as Tatsuya Aikawa], they give me their work generously. Sometimes, friends from different countries have collaborated with their voices.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
We are the result of what we have seen, read, heard ... lived and, after all that, we try to find our own language. I love poetry as well as philosophy or music. About cinema, my admiration extends from Walter Ruttmann or Leni Riefenstahl to Bresson, Greenaway, Wenders, Lars von Trier or Angelopoulos. Precursors like Man Ray, Norman McLaren, Nam June Paik or Maya Deren to Bill Viola or Pipilotti Rist. In my country, I would highlight Val del Omar, Zulueta, Erice, Guerin...
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
My desire is to keep on learning and doing my video creations better and better. I would like to perform some installations which I have in mind but it will not be easy because they need financing. Occasionally someone asks me when I'm going to make a feature film but it isn’t that what interests me; film is a different language, more focused on narrative, I think that this may be an aspiration for those who make short films. Mine is another language, my work is closer to poetic language, where rhythm beats and there are words beyond meaning, surrounding the unspeakable. Not to tell, but to say. I also like the essay [not like an ideology but as a transit of ideas about the human and the image itself].
Can works of yours viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?
List some links & resources
On my web page: http://www.produccionesinmateriales.com/
On Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/lisiprada
lisi prada. 2016